Old oysters, new beginnings

Oyster collection helps environment

Eastern Carolina - The Oyster Shell Collection Program of the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has had budget cuts,but  that hasn't stopped the program from growing rapidly.

The old shells are collected by the North Carolina Oyster Shell Recycling Project, then put back in brackish waters where baby oysters thrive in the old shells. The new oyster clumps also have a huge effect on estuaries by cleaning water and preventing erosion.

Each week, several restaurants donate their shells to the program. Big yellow barrels sporting the "Oyster Shell Recycling" program logo are used to collect the shucks.

Donald Jordan, Owner of Jordan's House of Seafood in Emerald Isle says it is important to him to donate.

"It is really good, when these shells are put in the water it gives us better water and more oysters later on." said Jordan.

Project coordinator Sabrina Varnam says they are countering budget cuts by streamlining the collection of old shells they are doing that by replacing small collection barrels with giant bins at collection sites.

"The roll off containers when we get them here, are going to be yellow and have the logo. But they're actually going to be low to the side, four feet high so people can easily reach over and dump from the side," said Varnam.

The new collection bins will be roll off trailers that will only need to be emptied once or twice a year instead of weekly. These new containers should be in place around the first of the  year

For public recycling locations, click here.

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